Last month, the thing we had dreaded the most finally happened: Aya had started teething again. She was right on schedule, because children start losing their teeth around the age of six. Problem is, the milk tooth where the permanent tooth was supposed to move into was a stubborn one. It wobbled a bit, but it didn’t seem ready to give up its place yet.
I didn’t know what to do, honestly. I have very vivid memories of my Daddy wrapping a thread around my tooth and pulling it with all his might. I wailed with all my might in return – although it didn’t hurt that much, the thought of having my tooth pulled in brute force surely wasn’t a happy one.
I consulted Baggy. He only had one advice: go see a dentist.
I wasn’t so sure I needed a dentist to do the job. After all, as far as I remember, none of us kids (in my family) went to a dentist just to have our milk teeth pulled out. And actually, neither did Baggy. Still, he insisted that it was the right thing to do.
Anyway, I consulted my cousin, who is a medical doctor. Her advice was the same: go see a dentist.
I consulted another colleague. Guess what, she told me to see a dentist immediately, but warned that it would be tricky because it is quite difficult to get a reservation in dental clinics in Cambridge. Sometimes it would take about a month.
What?! A month! I don’t have a month to spare. I started imagining my beautiful Aya getting crowded, misaligned teeth growing in weird places in her mouth.
Of course, by this time I was starting to panic. Aya’s permanent teeth has indeed already sprouted, and the silly old milk tooth still refused to lay down and die!
I browsed through the NHS list of dental practices in our area, and found one that seemed like a good bet. I called them up, and to my surprise, got a reservation that very day.
The clinic was a bit far from our place, though, and I had to half-drag Aya for about 25 minutes just to get there. Even with our best effort, we were already 15 mins. late when we got there.
The dentist counted Aya’s teeth, took notes, and casually glanced at the protruding tooth in Aya’s gums. "You see, that tooth is wobbly, but it’s not yet ready to come off," I told her. She looked at me and said, "Yes it is."
Then after she poked around a bit more, she seemed satisfied and finally said, "Ok, that’s it. See you in six months."
I was flabbergasted. I mean, wasn’t she supposed to pull the milk tooth out so that the permanent tooth could finally move into its rightful spot?
"Just let it fall out on its own," was her emphatic reply.
And so, as it turned out, we dragged our sorry selves for almost half an hour, only to sit at the dentist’s chair for less than five minutes. Only to be told to let the damn tooth fall out naturally.
Well, I didn’t know that that’s what parents are supposed to do. Leave the falling out of milk teeth to Mother Nature. So why was everyone telling me to "go see the dentist"? Go figure.
And so after a couple of weeks of waiting, the tooth finally succumbed to the natural order of things. It fell off on its on, just like the dentist said. I was so relieved, while at the same time feeling rather silly that I didn’t just trust my instincts.
And as for Aya…well, she was ecstatic! Turns out that she has been waiting for her first tooth to fall off, because, like all girls, she’s been waiting for her first encounter with the magical Tooth Fairy. Breathless with anticipation, she gingerly placed her tooth under her pillow before she went to sleep that night.
Sure enough, there was a shiny one-pound coin under her pillow the following morning, thanks to the Tooth Fairy who had magically transformed it overnight.
That same Tooth Fairy now knows to just let nature take its course, in due time. 😉